Why organizations need a program to promote peer recognition in the workplace

Well, whaddya know? It is actually better to give than to receive.  
At least when you’re talking about recognizing great performance in the workplace.
A new study from O.C. Tanner says that employees who are empowered to give recognition to outstanding colleagues feel more confident, are more driven and are more dedicated to the success of their organizations. That feeling’s especially strong among millennials.
Some more detail on the study findings:

Giving recognition pays off

  • 4 out of 5 employees say that recognizing someone else’s achievements makes them want to work harder.
  • Those who give recognition at work are more confident in their work.
  • 90% of employees who noted that they “always” give recognition to employees feel that their work in the past 12 months has represented significant innovations compared to the norm. The percentage of employees who feel that way goes down as the frequency of giving goes down:
    • Always: 90%
    • Often: 83%
    • Sometimes: 68%
    • Rarely: 61%
    • Never: 54%
  • Those who give recognition at work have more organizational pride. 94% of employees who noted that they “always” give recognition to employees are proud to tell others they work for their organization.
  • Those who give recognition at work are more motivated. 95% of employees who noted that they “always” give recognition to employees are highly motivated to contribute to the success of their organization.

One big roadblock

Why don’t rank-and-file employees give recognition to their peers more often?

  • 1 in 5 employees don’t feel empowered to give recognition at work.
  • 17% of employees don’t feel like it is their responsibility to give recognition at work.
  • 21% of employees noted that they don’t give recognition more often because their organization doesn’t have an official program to give recognition.

It’s a win for everybody

Here’s how the researchers sum up the value of a company-wide recognition initiative:

Creating opportunities for giving, receiving and observing recognition, and devising a program that focuses on all three, will help organizations increase employee engagement, employee wellbeing, innovation, work results and revenue.
Promoting open channels for all levels of employees to provide recognition will result in enhanced employee engagement and an elevated workplace culture. All levels of employees should feel like they can and should provide regular recognition to their coworkers — giving recognition is a universal action unrestricted to just top managers.
While frontline employees may feel like it’s not their place to provide recognition, it’s in an organization’s best interest to do what it can to dispel that perception. And encouraging cross-level recognition doesn’t require large expenditures — team members can simply tell their coworkers that they recognize and appreciate their work.
The gains of giving recognition are clear, and organizations should reevaluate how they can better nurture a culture that fosters recognition, not just for the recipients’ sake, but also for those giving it.